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Portrait Of Panic As Apology

The firefly arcs like a shooting star around the windshield into my open palm stuck out the window. The fox is dead, crushed like the green budding plants under rubber. The rabbit starves in the window well behind my rented room. The deer is splayed on the road’s shoulder with its face a nest of flies. Look too long and I become firefly, fox, rabbit, deer, knotted hunk of fur, bloody entrails peppered with dirt, dead cardinal gleaming with frost, look long enough and I become unseen and witnessless. I apologize to my eyes, my window well, my tires, my palm.

Portrait Of Panic As Flock Of Geese

I am awakened by honking, torn from thin throats and it sounds like struggling for breath. Through the trees, I see a field of beaks, these gray bodies squealing panicked sounds. First there are enough to frighten a child, then rush a car, then panic the sky. They let loose from their bellies into frosty gray air. I want to run through them, flapping my arms, blowing an air horn. I want to scatter them into the horizon so their desperate chirruping drifts away on the wind. I want to join them, lift my chin to the sky, and fail to breathe quietly.

Abby Johnson is a poet and a Hoosier who is proud of the local art scene that fostered her. She received her MFA in Creative Writing through Butler University. During her time there, she served as Poetry Co-Editor for Booth: A Journal. Her micro-chapbook “No Line Except” is published through Ghost City Press. Her chapbook Opportunity Cost was published through Frontier Poetry. She has individual pieces published in Turnpike Magazine, Josephine Quarterly, The Indianapolis Review, and Sycamore Review.

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